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BY COLUMNISTS

| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


July 22, 2004

An Appreciation

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

My daily routine (depending on the time of year) consists of the usual, personal getting ready stuff, a page-by-page review of The Frederick News-Post, followed by front door good-byes, a stop in downtown Brunswick to check phone messages and Delegate email, then its off to Frederick and a day at the SportsPlex.

Somewhere between saying good-bye and dealing with SportsPlex problems, I read three other papers online. After that, I click on my favorite places.

I have made it a daily ritual to discover the wonders of trying to view the world through someone else's eyes. No where is that more fun and diverse than right here on The Tentacle.

Publisher John Ashbury discovered this venue accidentally, and has made the most of his little window into the World Wide Web. The technologists at Gaver Technology, Inc., consistently deliver high quality and dependability. Without their assistance, Crazy John (a term of endearment) Ashbury would not have been able to make this thing go.

While John deserves credit for getting in front with the county's first and most dependable web-based political news and information site, and GTI provides the expertise to keep it running, the site would be nothing were it not for the talented daily contributors.

Over the course of its existence, the Tentacle has had some of the county's most interesting and controversial figures contributing columns on everything from the Black Book to water capacity.

Election cycles bring out some really creative and compelling writing submissions. You can find the full spectrum of political ideology represented herein, from the liberal/progressive to the ultraconservative.

Back "issues" read like a who's who of Frederick County politics. Some of the most compelling political insider stories of the last few years have played on these pages.

John Ashbury carefully and lovingly edits each and every submission, combing through thousands of words to construct readable and proper (as proper as they can be made) articles. Speaking strictly for myself, I seem like a much more accomplished writer than I actually am thanks in large part to John's lifetime of experience around newsrooms and writers.

One of my personal favorite regular contributors is David "Kip" Koontz. Kip and I rarely share the same view, but I have always found his perspective informative and instructive. Reading a widely differing point of view has forced me to more carefully consider my own points of view, helping me round out my debate rhetoric.

My years in local political circles and public service jobs have blessed me with a fairly high profile, lots of great friends, and more than a few spirited adversaries. Nothing I've done in over 10 years has gotten the attention that my Tentacle articles regularly receive.

Whether at the grocery store, video rental counter, or public library, everywhere I go folks stop me to comment about the Tentacle. I suspect all of my fellow contributors receive similar feedback.

During the legislative session, John and I were receiving feedback from across the Nation, as some national news outlets were following blogs ( web logs) and some of my writing sparked regional controversy (guns-pro and con).

This is my Thank You to John, Mark Gaver and the folks at GTI, my fellow writers (such as we are), and to all of you loyal Tentacle readers. I firmly believe that we all benefit from an expanded debate on political affairs, and the Tentacle gives us a chance to share in that exchange.

Much like the old-fashioned public square soap box debates, the Tentacle uses technology to encourage healthy dialogue. Even my friend Kip gets it right sometimes!



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